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Nestle KitKat I LOVE TEA series

This time last year, Nestle Japan released a premi­um col­lec­tion of KitKat called ‘I LOVE TEA’, fea­tur­ing five tea-based fla­vours. I just had to have these and C kindly brought back a box dur­ing her vis­it.

The fla­vours (top to bot­tom, least to most oxid­ised) are gyok­urohojicha, gen­maicha, uron­cha and koucha. 

The series was cre­ated in col­lab­or­a­tion with Takagi Yasumasa, a patis­si­er and own­er of Le Patissier Takagi artis­an sweets retail stores and fea­ture a more refined fla­vour pro­file than the stand­ard tea fla­voured KitKats released by Nestle Japan.

Gyokuro is a type of shaded green tea, con­sidered one of the highest grades of Japanese tea, and prized for its brothy umami-rich fla­vour and mel­low, sweet and full bod­ied taste. Here, gyok­uro tea leaves are blen­ded with a white chocol­ate enrob­ing wafers that sand­wich a firm white chocol­ate centre.

The high-qual­ity green tea used in this KitKat is evid­ent in the gyok­uro leaves speckled in the enrob­ing chocol­ate. Each bite is filled with the rich yet mel­low veget­al fla­vour and brothy notes on gyok­uro from the start, with the white chocol­ate melt­ing to a smooth con­sist­ency in the body while leav­ing the gyok­uro leaves on the pal­ate. The gyok­uro leaves add a pleas­ant gritty tex­ture that releases a bright and sweet yet slightly astrin­gent green tea fla­vour in the fin­ish and linger­ing long on the pal­ate.

The Nestle KitKat Itokyuemon Uji Maccha also uses gyok­uro but the over­all fla­vour cre­ated is one of a qual­ity matcha latte rather than of the ori­gin­al tea itself. Here, though, there is no doubt that this is a gyok­uro KitKat as the sweet and creamy qual­ity cre­ated by the white chocol­ate is scaled back dra­mat­ic­ally in the enrob­ing chocol­ate, tak­ing a back seat to the tea leaf with the white chocol­ate centre bring­ing just enough sweet­ness to bal­ance.

Hojicha is Japanese green tea that’s been roas­ted, with a toasty, slightly car­a­mel-like fla­vour repla­cing the veget­al notes that dom­in­ate oth­er green teas. Here, hojicha leaves are blen­ded with a white chocol­ate enrob­ing wafers that sand­wich a white chocol­ate centre.

The white chocol­ate enrob­ing the KitKat dom­in­ates the head and the start of the body of this KitKat, with the fla­vours of hojicha com­ing through only towards the end as the white chocol­ate recedes to leave the gritty hojicha leaves on the pal­ate. The hojicha notes that come through in the fin­ish are deli­ciously toasty with a more­ish car­a­mel-like fla­vour, and linger pleas­antly in the after­taste. Despite the white chocol­ate dom­in­at­ing the body, this KitKat again avoids tast­ing like a hojicha latte as there is a dis­tinct absence of the sweet and creamy fla­vours that define the Nestle KitKat Itokyuemon Hoji Cha.

Genmaicha, or brown rice green tea, is Japanese green tea blen­ded with roas­ted brown rice. While ori­gin­ally a tea for the poor (the rice served as a filler to reduce the price of the tea), it’s now enjoyed by all seg­ments of soci­ety for its warm, full and nutty fla­vour. Here, gen­maicha has been blen­ded with a white chocol­ate enrob­ing wafers that sand­wich a white chocol­ate centre.

The immensely enjoy­able round and nutty fla­vour of gen­maicha comes through from the first bite through to the last, with the veget­al notes of green tea emer­ging towards the end of the body as you bite through the tea leaf left behind by the white chocol­ate. The green tea leaves add a slight astrin­gency that sharpens the warmth of the gen­maicha and is well bal­anced by the mel­low sweet­ness now emer­ging from the white chocol­ate between the wafers. The nut­ti­ness of gen­maicha lingers on the pal­ate.

Uroncha, or oolong tea, is a Chinese tea that’s under­gone par­tial oxid­isa­tion (but not to the extent of black tea) and enjoyed for its fla­vour that ranges from sweet and fruity to woody and thick to green and fresh, depend­ing on the amount of oxid­isa­tion. Here, crushed uron­cha leaves are blen­ded with a dark chocol­ate enrob­ing wafers that sand­wich a white chocol­ate centre.

A very fra­grant fruity oolong comes through from the first bite of this KitKat. These fra­grant, fruity notes are well com­ple­men­ted by the slight astrin­gency of the tea and the rich­ness of the dark chocol­ate, cre­at­ing a rich, full-bod­ied sweet­ness that lingers pleas­antly in the after­taste.

And finally koucha, or black teais tea that’s under­gone oxid­isa­tion more than any of the pre­vi­ous teas and enjoyed for its strong, rich and full-bod­ied fla­vour. Here, high-qual­ity koucha leaves are blen­ded with a milk chocol­ate enrob­ing wafers that sand­wich a white chocol­ate centre.

A rich and deep black tea fla­vour in the head devel­ops with a pleas­ant fra­grant sweet­ness in the body and a more pro­nounced astrin­gency into the fin­ish. Perhaps a nat­ur­al res­ult of the oxid­isa­tion pro­cess, the tea leaf in this KitKat was more coarse and ‘gritty’ than the pre­vi­ous fla­vours.

These are truly premi­um KitKats with luxe mouth­feels and soph­ist­ic­ated fla­vour pro­files that cel­eb­rate each tea boldly. As a test­a­ment to how closely these KitKats adhere the fla­vours of the ori­gin­al teas, my pre­vail­ing pref­er­ence for less oxid­ised green teas over more oxid­ised black teas con­tin­ued to hold true.

This box of Nestle KitKat I LOVE TEA Series con­tained 10 single mini bars (2x gyok­uro, 2x hojicha, 2x gen­maicha, 2x oolong, 2x black tea). It was pro­duced in Japan and gif­ted by friends vis­it­ing Japan in 2016.